Continental Divide Trail – Day 45

July 7, 2023
Miles Today/ Total: 7.5 / 774.8

It’s great to be back on the trail after being off for 3 weeks. I’ve lost my trail legs during that time and I’m not acclimated to the elevation either. It will take some time to get to 100%, but being out in nature sure makes me feel good.

I was up a 3:00 am this morning getting ready to head back to Colorado and continue the CDT. My flight left Tulsa at 5:00am so I needed to be at the airport by 4:00am.

I made it to the airport a little before 4:00 and was able to check my backpack for the trip. I used my reward miles for the ticket and I got a pretty strange itinerary. Tulsa to Dallas to Phoenix to Durango. My flights where all on schedule though and I arrived in Durango a little after 11:00 am.

I had made arrangements with George from Pagosa Taxi to pick me up and take me to the Wolf Creek Pass Trailhead. He was waiting there when I arrived and we stopped to pick up stove fuel n the way. I arrived at the trailhead about 1:00 and had to repackage my bag because TSA had inspected it and didn’t put things back together correctly.

I started on the trail about 1:30 and was glad I had waited. The snow was almost all gone and I was able to get the first 3 miles in pretty quickly. Then the trail crossed through a pass and started going down the north side of the mountains. There was the snow I had hoped to miss. There were several places where the snow covered the trail, but overall the trail was still easy to follow. The snow patches were much smaller and I could see the trail on the other side of the snow.

I did reach a couple of areas where the snow was covering the trail on a side hill and I put my crampons on. The snow was pretty soft and I moved slowly across the traverse.

After being off trail for 3 weeks I was really struggling with the ascents and the elevation. The thin air was really making me breathe pretty hard. I took several breaks just to catch my breath as I climbed up the mountains.

About 6:30 I started looking for a place to camp and found a nice level spot in the trees. I set up my tent and then realized I had set up next to several dead trees. I packed everything up and moved on down the trail looking for a spot without dead trees. Unfortunately I had entered an area that was just desimated by pine bark beetles and there were more dead trees than live one. I found a spot near a rocky area that was far enough from any of the dead trees and set up my tent again for the night.

It was great getting back on the trail, but I’m sore tonight and ready for a good nights sleep.

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